When it comes to word and excel, crashes are going to happen. It most certainly can be a frustrating situation that can leave you a bit debilitated as you figure out how to recover your most important files. We know the pain all too well and have been there. Thankfully, there is a way for you to recover your files without a headache.

Here are a few options to resolve your lost, unsaved, or damaged files.

Try This First to Find Unsaved Files

Open Finder, then click Go > Go to folder (if you like keyboard shortcuts Shift + Command + G will work too)

Enter the following (replacing ‘username’ with your username):


/Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Application Support/Microsoft



If it doesn’t show up, here’s the next most likely option to work.

Plan B to Recover Unsaved Files

  1. Go to Applications and select Utilities from the menu.
  2. Next, click on the Terminal option.
  3. Type open $TMPDIR and press Return. This will open the Temporary files folder.
  4. Search through the folder and see if you can find the right file.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have already turned on autosave, then in theory the files should actually be saved every few seconds. In this case you can try to restore a previous version of the file in OneDrive from the web or view previous versions from within word.

However, if you cannot find it and since you cannot recover your unsaved Word docs with AutoRecovery, there are still two options you can try:

1. Recover Unsaved Word Documents on Mac from TMP Folder.

1) Go to “Applications” > “Utilities” and double-click “Terminal”.

2) In Terminal, enter open $TMPDIR and you will be directed to the TMP folder which is used to keep files temporarily.

3) In the TMP folder, find and open the folder named “Temporary Items”. In it, right-click the desired unsaved Word files and “Open with…” Microsoft Word.

4) Save the Word file by clicking on “File” > “Save As” and save it to another location.

2. Recover Unsaved Word Document from Recovered Item.

1) Open “Trash” by clicking its icon on the dock.

2) Look for a folder labeled “Recovered items” and click into it to look for your unsaved Word file. If you cannot find it, try the next solution.

If neither of the options seem to do the trick, we are here to help!

Luke Kumanchik

Entrepreneur, programmer, backyard farmer & Dungeon Master Extraordinaire.